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Bill builds up forest biomass industry

In the US the newly-passed Forest Biomass Supply Agreements Bill (SB 6236) will allow the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to enter into long-term agreements to supply forest biomass from trust lands for energy projects/purposes.

There are approximately 3 million acres of state trust land in Washington.

The bill goes hand-in-hand with HB 2165, which was passed in 2009 to authorise the DNR to implement forest biomass-to-energy pilot projects in eastern and western Washington.

Upon implementation of the bill, rather than having to auction each timber sales’ woody biomass waste on a sale-by-sale basis, the DNR will be authorised to provide five-year contracts with up to three renewals or leases for long-term biomass supply.

In January the DNR selected its first four partners for biomass pilot projects out of more than 30 interested parties.

They include Parametrix, which plans to develop a transportable fast-pyrolysis system; Borgford Bioenergy, which will build Kulzer BioEnergy Park in Stevens County to generate 9.5MW of electricity, bio-oil, syngas and biochar; Atlas Pellets will produce pellets from the forest biomass; and Nippon Paper will replace an existing biomass boiler at its paper mill in Port Angeles, Washington, to produce 6MW of excess power for sale to a power utility to help meet renewable energy requirements.

The DNR will report to the state legislature in December 2010 on the progress and results of the pilot projects.

It is currently pursing funding to initiate a statewide woody biomass investment-grade supply and accessibility study and hopes to have a final report by 2011.